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“Washed Ashore” Art Bids Adieu to the Zoo


Hundreds of tiny plastic waste pieces are formed to create a fantastically sized penguin. Photo courtesy of “Washed Ashore”

Many animal exhibits reside at the Oregon Zoo. Few, however, contain animals that are made entirely out of plastic waste. 

“Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” is a free art exhibit with Oregon zoo admission that, a year after its debut, will be taken down and moved on to other existing and future exhibits on Jan 24. 

“Washed Ashore” takes a creative, thought-provoking approach to address the global marine debris crisis. Portraying large sea mammals, the installation is made entirely out of plastic waste washed up from the ocean. 

Angela Haseltine Pozzi, founder and artistic director of “Washed Ashore,” became inspired by the idea for the environmental project in 2010. She was walking along her childhood beaches’ of Bandon, Oregon when she discovered that they had become entirely strewn with microscopic plastic and waste. Shortly after, she launched the artistic non-profit “Washed Ashore”, with the intent of turning the public’s attention to the crisis in an unavoidable way.

The art is made accessible to the public, those of all ages. Photo courtesy of “Washed Ashore”

Currently, her favorite part of the process is all the people who pitch in to collect the trash and help construct the art pieces. 

“You get hundreds of people doing those little parts, and then it comes together as a giant penguin, you just go ‘Wow. I actually was a part of that and I can contribute to something bigger than myself,’” Pozzi said.

“Washed Ashore” can be found intermingled throughout the walkways and other animal exhibits at the Oregon Zoo. The project has several other ongoing and growing exhibitions across the country, including at the Smithsonian in D.C., and is set to premiere on the Kelly Clarkson Show.

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